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Resources for Teachers

We at Iowa Poetry Association enjoy corresponding with teachers whose students have entered our contests, and some of them have shared ways for IPA to better communicate about opportunities for their students. We are moving to more digital formats and online access to our contest guidelines. In addition we have added this Teacher Resources page to our website with ideas for assignments and plans for teachers (and parents) to more easily incorporate creative poetry writing into already very busy schedules. If you are an educator and would like to share some of your ideas and assignments on our website, please contact us at ipa@iowapoetry.com.

Remember, at this time all high school and grade school submissions must still be mailed, but need not be sent in by the teacher; students or parents may also submit them directly. The contest is open Jan. 1 through Feb. 28. See details of the 2022 Contest Rules.

Elementary Grades

The following are PDFs of class assignments (provided by Mark Royer). Please feel free to print and reproduce for classroom use or at home:

Additional online resources for Teachers, Parents and Students (provided by Meggie Royer):

  • The Children's Poetry Archive is an online archive of poems that are read aloud for children. They are grouped by themes, such as myths and magic, nature, and science, and they are also organized by age group. They also have a teaching space full of activities for adults to teach children about poetry. These lessons include topics such as poetry performance, poetry writing, listening to poems, etc. Additionally, they have a guide for becoming a poetry-friendly school, with tips such as creating a poetry corner, having a poet of the month, making a poetry pinboard, creating a class anthology, and more.
  • ReadWriteThink has many interactive children's poetry lesson plans organized by grade level, including:
          Shape Poetry - students write poems in specific shapes
          Acrostic Poetry - students learn how to write acrostic poems
          Ferocious Fighting Fish - students learn about alliteration in an ocean-themed lesson
  • JogLab is an online interactive tool that jogs kids' memories for associated words to use in poems, and they can create acrostics, backronyms, and mnemonics with them.
  • Shel Silverstein's Official Site for Kids has a few lessons specifically for kids.

Middle School through Adult

Here is an informative resource sent in by Chelsea (student): Sit Down and Write: Poetry Resources. The article highlights some important steps, beginning with reading the work of good poets. Once you're ready to pick up a pen (or sit down at the computer), there are links to some useful writing tips.

What about poetry as a road-trip activity? This resource came from a mother/daughter duo who attended a poetry workshop at Fullers Library as part of their Learn-To-Do-It weekend activities. Thank you to these enthusiastic participants and the librarian, Margot, for sending in the link to add to our resources page!

High School

One favorite resource for writing poetry with students is the Ethical ELA monthly Open Writes for Teachers. This is a group of teachers who write together for five days each month. They take turns as hosts, providing mentor poems and prompts. Many of these can be adapted as poetry invitations ("invitations" as opposed to "lessons") to students. (provided by Allison Berryhill)

Writing Assignment: Where I'm From (provided by Blythe Stanfel)

Special Opportunities through the Academy of American Poets

Every National Poetry Month, the Academy presents Dear Poet, a multimedia education project that invites young people in grades five through twelve to write letters in response to poems written and read by award-winning poets, including poets who serve on the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors and who have received the Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships.

The Academy also posts lots of ideas for National Poetry Month, classroom ideas, free poster, etc. More info at poets.org/national-poetry-month

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